After loading the car on Saturday, we travelled early Sunday to Alpnach and the start of the O-Tour. Although the Swiss Epic started the following Monday, I wanted to compete in the O-Tour and the National Park marathon was the leading event of the series.
After missing the motorway junction to Lucerne and noticing this after Oensingen, we arrived at Alpnach at 7am including an extra loop of driving. I immediately collected my race number whist Erich prepared my bike. The weather was very changeable so the right choice of clothing was a challenge!
Finally, I was on the start line at 7:45am. Importantly as a UCI series race, we were starting in separate blocks. The men would start just 15minutes after the women.
I had expected a reasonable pace after the start but this wasn’t to be. The Norwegian champion set off at a quick pace which I matched at first. Thinking this through, I decided to go a little slower. I remembered in the back of my mind that I was competing in Swiss Epic over several days starting the following day.
So, I let them pull away and focussed on my own race. The gap between her and me grew quite quickly, but I was calm about it, looking for my own pace.
Surprisingly, the gap decreased quickly. I caught and passed her faster than I had expected. This happened in a few kilometres and after this point, I was riding at the head of the field.
I was actually riding a lonely race. I was on the first short descent past the second feed zone when the leading men caught and passed me.
In the Langis, I met Erich for the first time with a Bidon and from there, down to Alpnach before starting the second loop up to the Ächerlipass. Just after crossing the road I was overtaken by a bunch of men and I was hoping to ride with them.
Unfortunately, they kicked hard out of the corners and I was alone. Later, I learnt that the men did this on purpose as they didn’t want me to ride on their wheel. Ironically, one or two overstretched themselves doing this and I dropped them on the climb to the Ächerlipass !!
The second climb was really steep, but I was feeling pretty good! I didn’t risk anything on the descent and arrives safely at the bottom. Only the run in to the finish via the Alpnach airfield.
Finally, I arrived after 4hr 49mins as the first woman across the line. Second was Hug with Darbeley third. Interesting to note that they will both be staring the Swiss Epic as well……
We all had to wait until 3:30pm for the winners ceremony and afterwards, drive to Grächen in Wallis where the team was waiting for us.
The day ended with a massage and a fine dinner.. full of anticipation for tomorrows Swiss Epic, I fell into bed.